Two Irvington High Seniors Create an On-Line Legacy Linked to Scenic Hudson Park
by Barrett Seaman –
All around the smooth, silent stones that lie beneath young trees in Irvington’s Scenic Hudson Park, children play, mothers push strollers, basketballs thump on the Bobby Speisman court and motorboats roar past on the nearby river. There are 103 of them for which families paid $800 apiece to honor the memory of loved ones. Each one has a simple plaque, typically with a name and a date.
More often than not, visitors to the park pass these memorials by, but two Irvington High School seniors, after the death of one of their classmate’s mother, felt that more should be done. When they went to the park back in 2017 to visit the plaque honoring their friend Evan Panjwani’s mom, Kim, they had trouble finding it. “We wanted to create a way for both Irvington residents and out-of-town friends and family to commemorate the loss of their loved one,” explains Lexi Weintraub. So she and Sharon Draytsel set out to photograph each memorial and post it on the web, along with as much background as they could find on each honoree.
The hard work was in finding the survivors of the honorees, interviewing them so as to bring their loved ones back to life in words that would accompany photographs of the memorials in the park. Not every family agreed; some did not want to publish biographies. “The process of getting the signed agreements and the biographies took a couple of months,” says Sharon Draytsel, “as we gave the memorial stone donators a deadline to get their forms in.”
To date, photos and biographies for 21 of the honorees can be viewed on the Legacy Project web site, reachable through the www.Irvingtonny.gov site, or directly by going to http://www.irvingtonny.gov/607/Legacy-Project.
Others who might not have been aware of the memorial plaque still have an opportunity to honor a family member or friend, as there are 82 trees in Scenic Hudson Park still to be claimed.